But 2012 will be the year CEOs, CMOs and CCOs establish KPIs and benchmarking to better measure performance.  That’s one finding of our just-released study: “The Economics of the Socially Engaged Enterprise” we conducted in collaboration with The Economist. Some other highlights:

  • The average return on social engagement was calculated to be between 3-5%. The most engaged businesses are reporting a calculated 7.7% business impact specifically from social engagement, which is four times the performance of the lowest performers who only achieved a 1.9% estimated return.
  • The top two areas where executives thought social engagement had real value were improved marketing and sales effectiveness (84%) and increased sales and market share (81%).
  • C-suite advocacy is critical, now and in the future. Two-thirds of the organizations achieving the highest returns reported that their C-suites are active advocates- that is, they commit to social engagement as a strategy and they reallocate resources to make it happen.
  • However, a full 28% of C-suite executives still don't believe in social engagement. And the number one reason? The inability to gauge ROI (45%). For engagement to work, the C-suite has to believe in it and see measurable returns.
  • Executives defined social engagement today as online listening (28%), blogging (24%) and building relationships with online influencers (21%). But the top performers have a different view - they will be more focused on ideas and action in the next two years. Big-return companies crowdsource new products (57%), or let customers participate in developing ideas -- they are predicting a significant portion of new products will be derived from social engagement insights.

In the coming weeks we’ll be hosting a series of webinars with BrightTalk and releasing more information from the study.  In the meantime, we’d love to know – is your management starting to get more serious about measuring business impact?